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Poster: c-freedom Date: Dec 31, 2013 7:56am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Shows in the rain-AltheaRose

Hey AltheaRose unable to reply directly to your post further down so I will try posting it here.
The light show seemed to really get going in 87 but I don't know when they first brought in Candice Brightman.
She is the one who illuminated the wild scene scapes surrounding the show especially those big outdoor summer shows.
To me the Dead was all about the creativity and this was one area that the band let Candice express herself while they played.
Of course many a traditional head might say, "A light show?That is what the Visine bottle is for" but anyway I did enjoy the light and stage set-ups myself.
And if I had to think of one verse in a song that summed up that whole time period,
"It is bigger than a drive-in movie, for real"
-Picasso Moon
Also about memory don't beat yourself up like Jerry sang,
"Everything you gather is just more that you can lose"

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Poster: wlg3 Date: Dec 31, 2013 9:57am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Shows in the rain-AltheaRose

I do recall one lighting reference by the band itself, at Richmond, VA 10/8/83. Right before "Hell In A Bucket" Bob said something like, "Aw, come on Candice, this is a red light song."

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Poster: AltheaRose Date: Dec 31, 2013 9:04pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Lighting / Light Shows

I think Candace went way back to the early years. Her sister, apparently more of a Berkeley activist/academic, even wrote a book connecting the GD with the Berkeley world.

But I don't recall being at any GD show where they had anything like a Pink Floyd-ish light show, even with Candace on board and with those in vogue in the Big Rock Era. I mean, the lights were nice and all -- and that's funny, "c'mon, this is a red light song," because yeah, sometimes they were red, sometimes they were blue -- but it was more of a tasteful wash than a "light show" per se.

But I've seen amazing pictures of stage setups and lights. For instance, this is from '94. I don't recall seeing anything like this earlier, but I could be wrong.


Compare that to a show I was at, 3/5/81, which is what I'm thinking of as "not a fancy light show" (or stage setup):


However, I never saw them in major venues like NYC or the Greek where they might have had fancier setups.

This post was modified by AltheaRose on 2014-01-01 05:04:55

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Poster: jgmf Date: Jan 1, 2014 8:23am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Lighting / Light Shows

I haven't checked all the books, but the dates of Candace's involvement with GD would be good to pin down. She's a genius.

The book by her sister, Carol, is called Sweet Chaos. It's an interesting book which I remember disliking. Rather than positing Berkeley and San Francisco as alternative alternatives, and being a little agnostic about it, it came across as a politico scratching her head, at book-length, about why those irresponsible, rather brutish and stupid Prankster-types couldn't see (and, more importantly, contribute to) the serious work that was needed to really change the world. Since I have probably less sympathy for the politico position, I found it a little preachy. But an interesting read, for sure.

So, both Carol and Candace are quite accomplished, amazing people. Some family!

Brightman, Carol. 1998. Sweet Chaos: The Grateful Dead's American Adventure. New York: Pocket Books.

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Poster: AltheaRose Date: Jan 1, 2014 9:50am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Lighting / Light Shows

Poked around a bit, and apparently Candace started with the band in '72 at the Academy of Music shows in March.

I found a great interview by David Gans with Carol Brightman from 1999 that really runs the gamut, from Mountain Girl's views on cocaine use to the Dead as early "marketing strategists" (long before that book came out) to some very cogent thoughts on the Deadhead phenomenon. It's an interesting read.

Here's what Carol has to say on her sister's lights:

>when the music began to falter, as you say, and improvisation had sort of dried up, the lighting became more and more important, The spectacle became more and more important. And she was, in fact, entertaining the audience, sometimes. And some of the band members, Bob Weir in particular -- and Lesh, also -- was quite aware of that. Even though they never saw her performance, because they were never on the other side.

BTW there's a quote somewhere from Jerry at a meeting where Candace is asking for more money for lights and Jerry finally says something like, "Well, I don't know why they keep coming anyway, but maybe it's the lights. So just give her what she asks." It's probably in McNally's book.

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Poster: light into ashes Date: Jan 1, 2014 6:14pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Lighting / Light Shows

I also remember strongly disliking Sweet Chaos - it seemed extremely self-centered and was far more about politics than about the Dead. (Carol admits in the interview she was never really into the Dead.)

Candace did join the Dead team in early '72. She'd been doing the lighting at the Anderson Theater & Fillmore in NYC.
Per McNally, Garcia met her "at the Capitol in Port Chester. She'd gone to work a show in Buffalo because she wanted to see the Mahavishnu Orchestra, and the opening act was Jerry Garcia & Howard Wales. Impressed with her work, Garcia asked her to join them for the tour of Europe. He also hinted, 'Y'know, a lot of people work for us for free.' Candace drawled, 'That's interesting.'" (McNally 425)

McNally does have the passage you're looking for:
"The greatest change wrought by playing stadiums was in the realm of Candace Brightman... Until late in the 1980s, the lights had been minimal and her budgets small, but now she began to push the envelope. Garcia once remarked of her proposed budget in a band meeting, 'Give it to her. God knows why they keep coming to see us. Maybe it's the lights.'" (572)

Mickey Hart remembers the same meeting in the last minute of this clip:
"We had a board meeting, and Candace came in and said, 'We need $100,000 more for the lights - we need a new screen, a new lighting situation because we've been using this for so long.' And everybody said, 'No, no, it's fine.' And Jerry said, 'No, man, let's give it to her. Maybe they're coming for the lights!'"

Garcia took an interest in her lights, sketching out how her ideas would look to the audience (though he couldn't actually see them during the show) - once in the '90s he mentioned to her that sometimes the lights burned his skin, but "It doesn't bother me anymore. If you have any residual reluctance to crank them up, erase it from your mind." (464)

Candace's lighting philosophy: "My feeling was that it was the band we wanted to see... One of the things I like to do is turn off all the lights at a high point in the music... You only want to hear the music, and in the darkness your sight doesn't get in the way of your hearing... In general, don't make a statement, let the band carry the show." (572)

Candace had an often difficult time working with the very macho crew, but said, "I didn't have trouble because I forgot that I was a woman... You see, I liked playing that game. I was always ready for a little fisticuffs... I don't have any normal fear of those people. One time Steve Parish banged my head into the drum-kit a number of times, and I ruined it by breaking out laughing. I love a certain amount of lighthearted physical violence... You had to be kind of thick-skinned around my house, growing up." (215)

Candace did complain about the frustrations of working for the Dead - she later asked, "Why did they take themselves sooo seriously? One of the reasons I got shit from the crew was that I lacked the proper reverence for the band." (584)

In Gans' interview with Carol, she mentions that when Candace complained, "I sensed that they had assimilated a level of abrasiveness among themselves... I assumed that they thrived on conflict and confrontation, even among themselves." Which brushes a larger topic that isn't covered; but anyway, interesting interview.

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Poster: AltheaRose Date: Jan 1, 2014 8:50pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Lighting / Light Shows

I also read through bits of the book some time back -- flipping through it in a bookstore, I think -- and I had the same impression. Too much Berkeley politics shoehorned into a fellow-traveler relationship with too little Dead. But going through it in the Amazon excerpts with the search function, it's a lot more interesting to me than I remember. It did strike me how very little she knew about the band's music; she seemed to have embarked on the book project without actually realizing that the band improvised! And that was around '92, it seems. Well, I guess I don't pay much attention to my brothers' jobs, either.

But in a "big picture" way, she seems to contextualize quite well, really, if you're interested in the general milieu of the time and how it all connects. I've put in my time at protests and in the Berkeley-type world, so I relate to that aspect of Carol's experience and am interested in how the two worlds connected, both literally (crossovers/conflicts) and culturally (shared influences/ideas.) One notion that struck me was the view of the Dead scene as emerging strongly just as the politicized aspect of the 60s was wearing out and breeding disillusionment, and to some extent "running with" that energy. As someone who came of age in the immediate post-60s era and felt both the magnetism of that time and its ideals and the loss of them, I'd say that a lot of people were searching for any spaces where it still survived and flourished. In retrospect, I think that as a depoliticized space, the Dead world was able to keep that sense of a counterculture alive and growing in a way that radical politics couldn't. For one thing, being depoliticized, and being about music rather than opinions, meant it not only had a much wider appeal (it's a lot easier to get people to a concert than a meeting to plan a protest); it also meant it wasn't going to fragment into factions, so it could grow rather than shrink.

And I'd add that since it was a nomadic and temporary space, it couldn't be derailed by the real world. Anyone who "dropped by" could participate in a countercultural space (essentially an alternate reality conjured up by music) without the day-to-day challenges of, say, a real commune. And people (and generations) could come and go without the whole scene being derailed by the needs of individuals to get a space for their kids that a co-op house didn't provide, or by the loss of time and energy for envelope-stuffing and poster-pasting when you'd had a full day's work and the kids had to be put to bed, etc.

So I'm not hugely interested in what Carol Brightman did in Cuba in the late 1960s -- at least not in a book ostensibly about the Dead -- but it struck me on this skim-through as more interesting and thought-provoking than I'd felt before.

This post was modified by AltheaRose on 2014-01-02 04:50:44

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Poster: c-freedom Date: Jan 2, 2014 2:48am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Lighting / Light Shows

I thought the appeals the band members gave at the save the rainforest benefit at M.S.G were very telling.
I remember being very committed to that issue and still am mainly because the Dead put the issue of clear-cutting and deforestation out there rather than politicizing the Rainforest itself.
I had been extremely politicized at College in the 80's to the point of that being my religion. Yet the biggest flaw I experienced with that approach to life was even though it brought passion and purpose it was it was almost entirely devoid of love.
It irked me that the remnants of the Dead decided to not only endorse Obama but support him in a way that they usually reserved for more grassroots community organizations.
It was kinda like the ethos of personal responsibility that I found with the Dead and the Rainbow was handed over to a politician for safe keeping.
(I am glad Phil does a rap now about being an organ donor to me that is much more tangible.)
It has taken me forever to come to grips with the facts that politically I am a Libertarian thus I find myself hopelessly at odds with both the major political parties 99% of the time.
My uncle once told me that the older you get the more a tendency creeps in to 'not rock the boat'. Many say that is hypocrisy but perhaps it is really wisdom in disguise.
I spent some time on the road dealing with life issues that at every turn could have taken my liberty or even my life and by the grace of GOD I came through that.
I would prefer my children not have to learn by experience some of what I learned by experience.
The longer I live the more I find that responsibility ends up taken center stage over liberty. Look at Garcia, he carried the whole scene on his back. I am sure there are times when he wanted to just head out with the JGB and never play another Dead show again but there was this whole world that revolved around dead tour.
So it was ironic to hear Garcia sing Liberty because Jerry in so many ways became Mr. Responsibility. and yet he was gracious and kind about it. It certainly never went to his head.
I do know that the problems of this world will not get solved by this politician or that political party because the problems of this world are issues of the heart.
The nature of human beings is to be at war with themselves and with each other. And no matter how much structure or lack of structure one applies or does not apply in the end it comes down to:
"What is man, deep down inside, what a raging beast with nothing to hide".
Accountability is what is missing today. People don't feel they will answer for anything they do, so they live in whatever way they want, no matter who they hurt or what damage they do to others.
And sadly that runs the full spectrum from those who hurt others in the name of politics to those who wound in the name of their god.
So for me my politics became faith in Christ. I can live my life by the Word of GOD. And that is between me and my Maker.
If I know I will give an account for what I do in this life than what type of person should I be?
Anyway like your writing 'Althea Rose' and your research 'light into ashes". It is good to see some deeper thought process going on around these parts.
and Dylan has the best quote on politics:
"We are living in a political world under the microscope,
you can go anywhere, hang yourself there, you always have more than enough rope"

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Poster: William Tell Date: Jan 2, 2014 6:53pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Lighting / Light Shows

Just a thought: should an abuser of alcohol be first in line for a liver after admitting that's what did it in to begin with?

Would it make sense that same person would rap on organ donation being a good thing?

I know, I know--something judgmental perhaps best left unexamined, but...I dunno; it always gave me the willies, just a bit.

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Poster: c-freedom Date: Jan 2, 2014 8:40pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Lighting / Light Shows

Hey William Tell:

Phil could have just taken the organ donation from Cody and run.(He wasn't under any legal obligation)
I am not sure how many Heads have gone the donor route because of Phil's rap but even if it were a number as small as let's say 10 that is still a mighty big return.
But I have a feeling it is much (x10) higher than that but that is something that could only be verified if there was a box to check that said, 'Dead Head'
Phil does not do warm and fuzzy very well to begin with IMO.

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Poster: deadpolitics Date: Jan 3, 2014 12:27pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Lighting / Light Shows

Is it even better that his liver problems were also connected up with a dormant Hep C infection resulting from intravenous drug use in the early 60s?

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Poster: jgmf Date: Jan 1, 2014 10:29am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Lighting / Light Shows

What a great line from Jerry, and thanks for digging around. So much to read, so little time!